Mission Beach Boardwalk and Seawall: Born Again after $5.5 Million Restoration

A long-running boardwalk and seawall restoration project is nearly finished

The "unofficial start of summer" is two weeks away.

And in Mission Beach right now, city contractors are in the homestretch of finishing a long-running boardwalk and seawall restoration project.

But it wound up going over budget because of unforeseen complications.

The Mission Beach Boardwalk is a magnet for locals and tourists alike -- especially for "Zonies", escaping the extreme summer heat in their state.

The boardwalk has been undergoing repairs since last September.

After having downtown's Horton Park renovation project drag on for years, city officials are thrilled the Boardwalk work will be completed on time.

It was inconvenient for businesses, and a detour hassle for strollers, joggers, cyclists and skaters.

But now, it’s become a sight and stretch of oceanfront pathway to behold.

On Thursday, work crews were laboring on the last few yards of the most heavily traveled stretch of the Mission Beach Boardwalk -- four-tenths of a mile of oceanfront promenade proceeding south from Mission Boulevard, and passing Belmont Park in the process.

The project was bid back in February of last year, and awarded to an Orange County contractor in June.

But the city didn't learn until September that the Boardwalk is a national "historical resource" that needed ultra-special, labor-intensive treatment to restore.

That added more than a million dollars to the bottom line, which now totals $5.5 million.

"It's a pretty major undertaking,” says Ron Helm, a Tierrasanta resident who once lived in Pacific Beach but returns to the boardwalk on almost a weekly basis.

“You can see the progress getting made, you can see them working at it, and how hard it is to tear all this out and redo it, “ Helm said during a stop on a walking tour with several friends near Belmont Park.

“It's been deferred maintenance for a long time, like a lot of things in this country. So it's about time we got back in and started fixing things up."

The fixup includes 26 ornate lamps of the same make as the long-gone originals from 1925, from the same foundry in Springfield, Pennsylvania.

But they’re high-tech, wireless-operated, and vandal-resistant.

Why cheap out, when San Diego is a tourist town that likes to put its best foot forward?

"If that's what it's going take to keep us on the map,” says South Clairemont resident Rick Burton, interviewed near the Mission Beach Surf & Skate shop.

“You know, it costs a little money to get in and out of San Diego. And I think we should offer the tourists a first-class time. And for the most part, when I walk up and down the boardwalk and I see these tourists, there's a lot of smiles on these faces -- which means they're going to come back."

Ron Helm agrees: "I think it is better for tourists. People aren't all crowded in. It makes it a more presentable approach to the ocean. So I'm in favor of it."

The project should be wrapped up next week, when the City Council is expected to approve the overrun funding on the contract.

A May 26th ribbon-cutting ceremony is now in the works.

And fingers are crossed for a sunny, breezy-but-not-windy Memorial Day weekend.

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